Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Charing, 19/2/17

South East Hunts Club

At last the south-east season gets underway. This meeting is usually associated with cold weather and rampant mud, but it wasvery mild and very dry this time. This appeared to confuse people, and despite only six races on the card, it did seem that a high number of attendees were not there in time for the first race. And there were a few horses accustomed to making their seasonal bow at this event who may have been confused by the amenable conditions. They will probably all get drenched at Easter to make up for it, completing the complete haywiring of their biological calendar. Also, horses place the emphasis in haywiring on "hay" and get ultra-disappointed.

Going: Good

Race 1: Spurling Cannon Memorial Club Maiden, 4-6 year olds, 2m 4f

1: Captain Simon     2: TheReal Scorpion     3: Hidden Drifter

Winner owned: Francesca Nimmo & Charlie Poste, trained: Francesca Nimmo, ridden: Jack Andrews

This was setting up to be a close and fascinating finish as the remaining runners descended the hill, but the looming spectacle unfolded at the second fence from the finish. Fizzlestix fell there, and brought down Roll Of The Dice. Not just a bit of an untimely nudge, but a case where after having forced the pursuer to come to a complete halt, Fizzlestix stood up and gave Roll Of The Dice a second hefty clout to ensure that the jockey came a cropper as well. It just seemed vindictive. Roll Of The Dice was travelling ominously well at the time, but so was Fella, who pulled up lame in what seemed to be an unrelated incident, although viewing from an unhelpful angle made it not totally clear. That left Captain Simon in charge, and with a win on debut. First paddock impression wasthat he looked a nice sort, but rearing up, having a buck and eventually unseating his rider in the paddock rather undid any willingness to risk his unknown ability. With that greenness, and the lack of a serious challenger late in the race, his instant readiness for Restricteds has to be suspect. The Real Scorpion was also debuting, and picked up reasonably well late on, as if learning something during the race. Hidden Drifter had only run in the pointing bumper at Barbury before now, and she too will progress for it - although with the only other finisher, One For Dodger, also having his first race, she does rather look like a bit of a smart arse, what with knowing all that was going on and everything.

Race 2: FrantLakes Club Restricted

1: Letskeepit Simple     2: LeafyArbour     3: Cornerman

Winner owned: Michael Deasley, trained: IanCobb, ridden: Charlie Marshall

Letskeepit Simple won the 2m 4f maiden at thismeeting in 2016, but since then he included three second places in hisrepertoire. One was at 2m 4f as well, but the others were at the standarddistance, and it was getting time to wonder if he a) stayed or b) cared. Maybehe only needed a bit more education, as there was no question about him seeingthis race out and wanting the win. There was a bit of a flat spot going up thehill for the second time, but Letskeepit Simple soon got it out of his system,and rejoined the leaders. Leafy Arbour avoided the worst of his jumpingfrailties, despite setting a good pace that had the capacity to get him being abit slapdash at the fences, yet the winner took his measure easily. Leafy Arbourheld Cornerman at bay for second prize. After a run of pulling up, the merit ofCornerman's maiden win at Thorpe Lodge had to be questioned, and third in thiscertainly gave no reason to be excited over it. On the other hand, West Lake hadimpressed in winning his race at Horseheath, but could not even keep theteenager Macdougal behind him and keep fourth. This was not the last horse tocome from that meeting and perform very differently here, but the others did soin a more positive way.
Description
Restricteds can be alarming at the best of times, but this angle only makes it worse. Leafy Arbour is the most frightening presence, followed by Cornerman, Letskeepit Simple (two shades of blue), West Lake (green & yellow) and Did You Ever

Race 3: Shepherd Neame Faversham Kent Gold Cup Mens Open

1: Murrayana     2: Conkies Lad     3: Crack Of Thunder

Winner owned: SW Painting, trained: Nick Pearce, ridden: Sam Davies-Thomas

Now this was a weird way to finish a race. Murrayana was a 130+ rated staying hurdler but he flopped over fences, lack ofjumping agility leading to a fall and two tailed off third places after a more promising initial try. So the prediction was that he either struggled around and won it on his natural pace, or blundered his way into defeat. Instead he jumped reasonably efficiently but had to really battle to get the better of Conkies Lad (a horse also familiar with the ramifications of whacking a few fences) and Crack Of Thunder (a winning but much inferior staying hurdler to Murrayana), with the final margins being a head, and another head. So something positive for Murrayana, but he needs to develop it in points rather than carry on as he was today. As Nick Pearce's response when asked to hug the jockey and trophy for a photo was to offer to do anything wanted as long rides and wins like that continued, it may be best for the whole south-east area for Murrayana to stay well away from first place until saner heads prevail. For Crack Of Thunder to be so close to a known and guilty Open winner in Conkies Lad represents a leapforward in what can be predicted as possible by him. They were clear of fourth placed Glenquest, who is fourteen years old, but ran to a reasonable level inhandicap chasing last spring. He probably could still pick up a club or novice riders' race.
Description
This is just after the line, but a fair reflection of the race as it was in the final milliseconds - Murrayana is nearest the camera, Conkies Lad in the middle and Crack Of Thunder on the far side.

Race 4: Colin Squance Memorial Ladies Open

1: Vedettariat     2: Probably George     3: Crazy Eyes

Winner owned: The Ellis, Andrews, J Docker,Wales Families, trained: Tom Ellis, ridden: Gina Andrews

The smallest field of the day, and it was basically Gina Andrews on the favourite against four novice riders. It wa sinstantly depleted by one when Bringinthebranston, normally a reliable conveyance, unseated at the first fence. The remaining quartet split into pairs a lap out, and Vedettariat was always going to be too nippy for Probably George. These two both ran at Horseheath a couple of weeks ago. Vedettariat jumped with all the style and athleticism of a tractor there and lost because of it. He did edge right at a few today, but generally was far less clumsy. Probably George was slowly away and sulked throughout his visit to East Anglia, but this was a far more lively display, and he gave the jolly no chance to ease up in the latter stages. He is a player in Opens as long as this remains normal behaviour.The other couple were tailed off.
Description
Vedettariat - another functional jump (of the type hecould not do before) puts the race to bed at the final fence

Race 5: Adrian Henry Vivier Memorial ClubMembers, 2m 4f

1: Horizontal Speed & NeverComplain     3: Honourable Exit

Winner (Horizontal Speed) owned: Graham Henderson, trained:Alan Hill, ridden: Gareth Henderson

Winner (Never Complain) owned: The Glebe House Racing Club,trained: Charlotte Marshall, ridden: Charlie Marshall

Despite a season that only lasts just over sixty races, the south east always manages to dig out at least one dead heat per year, and Charing has more than a fair share of them. The target was achieved quite early in 2017, and it will have greatly annoyed Never Complain, who will move heaven and earth to finish second. Lacking the opportunity to appeal to the judge to give the win to Horizontal Speed, he had to settle for a dead-heat success, after leading from the top of the hill until over the last and not being too quick on the short run-in. Horizontal Speed hadbeen performing well below the level that got him a 127 rating as a hurdleruntil second in a club race at Larkhill last month. This was a continuation of that recovery, but not form that required massive effort to achieve as those of the line-up that the winners defeated came here in undesirably shaky form overthe last year or so. At least the dead-heaters were a long way in front of them.

Monday afterthoughts: 1) Thisis the second season in succession that Gareth Henderson has dead heated for awin. He could be closing in on some sort of record. 2) Four of the nine managed to be nearly tailed off by the fourth fence. This is not normal, and whilst the ones that completed managed to stop getting any further adrift, they were never win or place contenders.

Race 6: Porsche Centre Tonbridge ClubMaiden

1: Surging Seas     2: Florabell     3:Rainbow Stripes

Winner owned: Alice Cooper,trained & ridden: Philip Hall
Description
Stars Royale leads over fence three, with Teeton Turnip the leading pursuer (green& yellow), from Surging Seas (red & white). Also mostly in view are De Pilgram (light blue, black cap), Sea Serpent (pink, some green bits) and Florabelle (blue, yellow sleeves).

Just like the opening maiden,this was all change at the second last fence, except that it was normally the third last, being promoted due to the final fence being omitted - it was not clear why. At that point, Stars Royale was still in front when he fell, and the "staying on with place possibilities" Ididandididn't came down tryingto avoid him. Given his exemplary Rules record for finding a way to lose any race, Stars Royale could not have been trusted to finish the race off with any conviction, so Phil Hall's farewell appearance on Surging Seas (one interesting run in a handicap chase, but too many thrashings for comfort) could well have been a success anyway. He could do well in points if he manages to find the consistency that was absent in his past adventures. In the past he had cheekpieces and tongue tie used, but now Surging Seas wore a hood and that might be the difference maker. Florabell made a good attempt to deny the moment, buther only other run had seen her finish a bit tamely at 2m 4f here. She stayed this trip, but did not surge home - the inclination is to blame a year off more than anything else. At face value, Rainbow Stripes' close third was a fair effort, even as the last to finish, but he is now played 12, won 0, runner-up in 2, third in 6, and that is not a record to place much faith in. Until finishing second last time, De Pilgram had not shown much at all, and today it was back to normal. He dropped out climbing the hill, and eventually pulled up at fence ten.

Monday Afterthought: Of eleven starters, six hit the deck at some point. This unusual but not unknown in a maiden, yet it did not seem during the race that the field were collectively jumping all that badly. It was one of those races where every little blemish was ruthlessly exploited by gravity.
Description
Riding off into the missing sunset - winning final ride for Phil Hall
$SIGNUP$
$VALIDATION$
Working... Please wait